Planet Sport 2010

Planet Sport 2010


If you thought 2009 was seat belt-time, think again, for the first year of the new decade promises a sporting extravaganza of the sort seldom seen in recent times.

Three World Cups, a World Championship face-off, a multitude of multi-disciplinary competitions and a return to Formula One of its one-time colossus, Michael Schumacher. If 2010 doesn’t excite the sports buff, then you can rest assured that he is a very, very demanding person! And to think that this is not even an Olympic year!!

There is something for everyone to look forward to, with India certain to be in the limelight both for how the teams fare on the field and for the conduct of two major and prestigious competitions. The hockey World Cup beginning next month will provide the first indication of India’s organisational capabilities, though compared to the Commonwealth Games in October, also in New Delhi, the World Cup will almost be a piece of cake.

In front of adoring fans, India’s hockey stars also have a glorious opportunity to relive their halcyon days, then they ruled the world with an iron hand. The cricketers will seek redemption at the World T20 in the Caribbean in April-May as they seek to atone for a miserable outing last year in England, but both World Cups will pale in comparison with the year’s showpiece event, the football World Cup.

The Who’s Who of world football, led by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, will light up South Africa as 32 teams do battle for ultimate footballing glory.With no prizes for second-best.

Football

* Come June, the eyes of the sporting world will be riveted on South Africa, with 32 teams vying for the biggest prize in football.

The World Cup, being held for the first time in the African continent, asks tough questions of the participating nations, many of whom have come through a qualification process that tested their will and skills to the hilt.

Fears that some of the biggest names might miss out on the quadrennial bash proved unfounded, with two-time former champions Argentina and European challengers Portugal securing spots after bumpy rides, ensuring that the likes of Lionel Messi, FIFA World Player of the Year, and Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most expensive player, will be present, ready to dazzle with their magical talent.

The build-up to the World Cup will be no less exciting, with club competitions in Europe concluding in May. The Champions League final is scheduled for a May 22 finish while the second tier event, the Europa League, ends on May 12.

In the host continent also, there is minor business to be taken care of before the big party, with the African Nations Cup  scheduled in Angola from January 10 to 31.

May 14: Europa League final, Hamburg
May 22: Champions League final, Madrid.
June 11 to Jul 11: World Cup, South Africa

Cricket

* After climbing the pinnacle in Test cricket, India have the difficult task of protecting that status in another packed cricketing year, with Test series slated at home and away against South Africa and New Zealand scheduled to visit India early next season.

Australia are also due to play another seven-match one-day series in the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup. The World T20 in the West Indies and the Ashes series are the other highlights of the year, which will also feature IPL III in March & April.

Jan 4-28: India in Bangladesh
Triangular series and two Test matches
Jan 22-31: Australia vs Pakistan
(1 T20 & 5 ODIs)
Feb 3-19: New Zealand v Bangladesh
(1 Test, 1 T20 & 3 ODIs)
Feb 7-23: Australia vs West Indies
(5 ODIs & 2 T20s)
Feb 26-Mar 31: NZ v Australia
(2 T20s, 5 ODIs, 2 Tests)
Feb 28-Mar 24: Bangladesh v England
(3 ODIs, 2 Tests)
Feb 28-Mar 14: WI v Zimbabwe
(1 T20, 5 ODIs )
May 19-Jun 30: WI v South Africa
(1 T20, 5 ODIs, 3 Tests)
May 27-Jul 12:
England v Bangla (2 Tests)
Apr 30-May 16: World T20 in West Indies
Jun 22-Jul 3:
Eng v Aus (5 ODIs)
Jul 5-25 Pak vs Australia
(2 T20s, 2 Tests, in England).
Jul 29-Sept 22: England v Pakistan
(4 Tests, 2 T20s, 5 ODIs).
Nov 25-Jan 7, 2011: Ashes
(Australia vs England, 5 Tests)

Formula One

* With seven world titles in his bag, what has Michael Schumacher got to prove? The new season holds all the answers as the Formula One legend gets behind the wheel of a Mercedes car, revving up interest worldwide. The season will witness a record-equalling 19-event programme. A new points system will also be in place, with the winner of a race getting 25 points. The runner-up will get 20 with 15 for third. The remainder will be: 10-8-6-5-3-2-1.

March 14: Bahrain GP
March 28: Australian Grand Prix
April 4: Malaysian GP
April 18: Chinese GP
May 9: Spanish GP
May 16: Monaco GP
May 30: Turkish GP
June 13: Canadian GP
June 27: European GP
July 11: British GP
July 25: German GP
Aug 1: Hungarian GP
Aug 29: Belgian GP
Sept 12: Italian GP
Sept 26: Singapore GP
Oct 10: Japanese GP
Oct 24: Korean GP
Nov 7: Brazil GP
Nov 14: Abu Dhabi GP

Tennis

* When the new season kicks off, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will hog their share of the limelight but special focus will also be on Justine Henin, making her comeback from retirement. Henin, whose finesse smothered even the power of the Williams sisters, will be following in the footsteps of another Belgian, Kim Clijsters, who made a dream return with her US Open triumph last season.
Grand Slam events
Jan 18-31: Australian Open, Melbourne
May 23-June 6: French Open, Paris
June 21-July 4: Wimbledon, London
Aug 30-Sept 12: US Open, New York

Davis Cup
March 5-7: First round matches
July 9-11: Quarterfinals
Sept 17-19: Semifinals
Dec 3-5: Final

Hockey

* Hockey has given only heartbreak to the Indian fan in recent times. A chance to change the script comes next month when the World Cup begins in New Delhi. Administrative problems in the sport dominated the headlines last year; hopefully, action on the pitch will, this year.

Feb 28-March 13: World Cup, New Delhi

Other events

Chess: World Championship title match, Anand vs Topalov, April 23-May 12, Sofia, Bulgaria

Snooker: World Championship, Sheffield, April 17-May 3

Cycling: Tour de France, Jul 3-25

Athletics

* Usain Bolt’s exploits captivated the track and field fans in 2009. This year, we have more excitement in store with the Diamond League meets in 14 cities.

March 12-14: World Indoors, Doha
March 28: World Cross Country, Poland
Diamond League:
May 14: Doha
May 23: Shanghai
Jun 4: Oslo
Jun 10: Rome
Jun 12: New York
Jul 3: Eugene, Oregon
Jul 8: Lausanne, Switzerland
Jul 11: Gateshead, England
Jul 18: Paris
Jul 22: Monaco
Aug 6: Stockholm
Aug 13 & 14: London
Aug 19: Zurich
Aug 27:  Brussels

Badminton

* Saina Nehwal’s exploits have turned global attention back on India and she will again be the cynosure of Indian eyes for another big year for the sport. The World Championship is the obvious highlight but there are other big events too to focus on...

Super Series
Jan 12-17: Korea
Jan 19-24: Malaysia
Mar 9-14: All England
Mar 16-21: Swiss
June 15-21: Singapore
Jun 22-27: Indonesia
Sept 14-19: China Masters
Sept 21-26: Japan
Oct 26-31: Denmark
Nov 2-7: French
Nov 30-Dec 5: China Open
Dec 7-12: Hong Kong

Golf

* Will he? Won’t he? The golfing world’s biggest question at the start of the year revolves around the return of the sport’s biggest star, Tiger Woods, from a self-imposed break. The action continues with the Majors leading up to the Ryder Cup, scheduled for October in Wales.

April 8-11:  US Masters, Augusta
June 17-20: US Open, Pebble Beach
July 15-18: British Open, St Andrews
Aug 12-15: US PGA, Kohler, Wisconsin
Oct 1-3: Ryder Cup, Celtic Manor, Wales

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